Culture Crossing: Discover the Key to Making Successful Connections In the New Global Era, by Michael Landers ISBN 9781626567108
Five out of five stars
Although the content of this book is extremely important to all people engaged in face-to-face negotiations and other meetings with people from other cultures, there is nothing new about the principles. I have been reading about the consequences of cultural differences leading to unintended insults for some time, in fact the first time was likely in a Reader’s Digest issue decades ago.
Landers is the founder and head of a consulting company that specializes in education organizations and individuals in how fundamental cultural acts can be dramatically different across cultures. For example, in Bulgaria the head movement for yes is to rotate side-to-side while the movement for no is up and down. Completely opposite to the movements in other countries. Perfectly acceptable hand gestures in one culture are considered obscene in others.
I experienced firsthand a simple example of this when I was part of a professional delegation to the People’s Republic of China. A group of us met with the head of a university and when one of the Americans was speaking he nodded his head up and down, which was of course taken to mean that he agreed. However, afterwards a Chinese-American member of our delegation pointed out that the head nodding meant only that he was listening and understanding what was being said. So simple, yet potentially so important.
With potentially so many cultures to interact with, this book can serve only as a primer to the existence of significant differences in social acts around the world. Yet, it is important that vast numbers of people in businesses and organizations know what to do, for in the modern world, even lower-level employees are interacting with people from other cultures. This book should be read by all people up and down the organizational chart. At the least it will make them cognizant of the potential problems that even “normal” behaviors can create.